Stockholm (NordSIP) – In their quest to pursue a more sustainable approach to investment management, asset owners have a wide range of avenues they can follow. One of the simplest approaches involves exclusions, which has become dominant in climate change, be it on its own or in combination with more sophisticated strategies.
Historically, exclusions have also been important tools of social change, be it through the alcoholic bans of 19th-century conscientious investors or through the boycotting of Apartheid South-Africa in the 1980s. Among others, another such sector that often comes under fire is gambling.
This month, Swedish insurance and pension provider Länsförsäkringar announced it would start excluding all gaming companies that generate revenue from gambling. The decision resulted in the removal of 28 companies on top of another 20 companies excluded following an initial decision taken during the first quarter of 2020 to exclude online gambling companies.
Addictions and Money Laundering
The exclusion affects both the traditional portfolios and in the funds. The decision is motivated by concerns about gambling addiction and money laundering. According to a survey from the Swedish Public Health Agency’s (FHMs), commercial online gaming companies are the ones that contribute most negatively to increased gambling addiction. According to the survey, many commercial online gaming companies also occasionally violate licensing rules regarding, among other things, moderation in advertising.
Another concern underlying gambling and commercial gaming for Länsförsäkringar is money laundering. Citing a risk assessment published by the Swedish Gaming Inspectorate, Länsförsäkringar highlighted the risk of gambling being used for money laundering is considered to be particularly acute according to greatest for commercial online gambling and for casino gambling. The asset owner noted that these forms of gaming offer the opportunity for high stakes and winnings and have a high turnover.
The complete list of Länsförsäkringar’s exclusion criteria and excluded companies can be found here.